Where people live should not determine their access to high-quality healthcare. That is the philosophy behind one organization’s gift to cancer care at Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust created its Rural Healthcare Program in 2009 to improve access to and quality of care in the upper Midwest.
This summer, its $500,000 gift helped open the JRMC Cancer Center.
“Helmsley has made a distinct commitment to increase access to cancer care services in rural communities,” said Walter Panzirer, grandson of Leona Helmsley and trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “We know how important it is to receive great care close to home where family and friends can provide much-needed support.”
Panzirer served as a paramedic, firefighter, and law enforcement officer. This work sparked his passion for bettering the lives of people who live in underserved areas around the world.
“We see the JRMC Cancer Center as a very worthy project that will help improve the future health of this community and the surrounding area,” said Panzirer. “This project encompasses how a health system, community and philanthropy can work together to make care close to home a reality.”
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in America. In Stutsman County, it is the first leading cause of death for individuals ages 45-84. Survival rates, however, are increasing thanks to improvements in screening and treatment. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program works to increase survivability from cancer by funding the latest cancer screening and treatment technologies in rural cancer centers. To date, the program has made both digital mammography and radiation therapy available to most people within a 60-100 mile radius of where they live across the upper Midwest.
The JRMC Cancer Center will see its first patient on June 17 and expects to serve about 100 cancer patients each month. Built to improve the quality of life for patients and their families, the JRMC Cancer Center increases access to under-served communities in central North Dakota.
“We built this cancer center because we know miles matter when people are sick,” said Mike Delfs, JRMC President & CEO. “This cancer center could eliminate as many as 500,000 miles of travel each year.”
The Helmsley gift is the biggest in JRMC Cancer Center’s history.
“This gift helped us meet a significant milestone in care. We are blessed to have access to this level of care in a beautiful space,” said JRMC Foundation Director Lisa Jackson. “Thank you to the Helmsley Charitable Trust and all of our supporters for ensuring rural communities have the care they deserve.”
The 3,200 square foot JRMC Cancer Center will offer chemotherapy infusions to the 55,000 people in a nine-county area.
While JRMC has offered chemotherapy services for some time, the JRMC Cancer Center can offer a larger variety of treatments.
Patients can expect the latest cancer-fighting technology available and dedicated, compassionate professionals. Each of the six naturally lit infusion suites includes a specially designed chair that both heats and massages. Each room is equipped with a Smart TV. Comfort items like massages, snacks and therapies are also available.
Helmsley’s $500,000 gift helped JRMC reach the $1.9 million it needed to complete the JRMC Cancer Center capital campaign. Support needs will be ongoing for the cancer center endowment, staff training, patient care items and special services.
This dedicated space is for hope, healing and comfort, close to home.